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Joe’s NFL Picks, Week 15: Chiefs and Raiders in OT, Ravens fly high in Detroit

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Picking the winners and losers of week 15 in the NFL.

Last Week: 13-3.  Season: 78-52-1 (60.00%).

NFL weekly picks: 2013, week 15
NFL weekly picks: 2013, week 15

Do we want more snow games? Is Tom Brady on a mission – Gronk or no Gronk? Is the NFL the most addictive drama on television?

The answer is yes, yes and yes. December football in the NFL never disappoints!

Grab your foam fingers, here we go:

Thursday Night Game:

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-6.5)
Unless Manning’s throwing arm falls off due to overuse, then I cannot pick against Denver. Especially at home.
Broncos 41, Chargers 38

Sunday Games:

Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
This reminds me of the 1987 KU-KSU game (aka the ‘Toilet Bowl’). Seriously, both of these teams have really stunk it up this year compared to lofty expectations. If RGIII were starting, I would pick the Falcons – but I think giving Kirk Cousins the reins for the rest of the year is an excellent move. Gimme the ‘skins on the road.
Redskins 31, Falcons 24

Chicago Bears (-1.5) at Cleveland Browns
I know it was Ditka night at Soldier Field on MNF last week, but DAY-UMM those Bears lit up the scoreboard in the freezing cold. Josh McCown is having a heyday running Trestman’s offense to perfection. Alshon Jeffries is a B-E-A-S-T. Look out Cleveland; the Monsters of the Midway are coming for you.
Bears 42, Browns 28

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (-1)
I’m supposed to pick the Titans at home here but I can’t. The stuff they’re cookin’ up in the desert is pretty spicy and I think it travels well this week.
Cardinals 32, Titans 28

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (PK)
The Tailspin Texans stand to gain more by losing here (in draft position) than they do by winning. Factor in Kubiak’s firing and the QB woes and I wouldn’t bet a dime on them going into Indy and posting a ‘W’. Reluctantly, I will take the Colts at home.
Colts 30, Texans 20

New Orleans Saints (-1.5) at St. Louis Rams
‘Dem Saints on the road aren’t as good as ‘Dem Saints in N’awlens. I believe the Saints will get caught napping by a spoiler-minded Rams team. I expect some ‘Punch-in-the-mouth’ football. POW!
Rams 35, Saints 24

New England Patriots (-2) at Miami Dolphins
No Gronk? No Problem. The Patriots won all season without him anyway! Time to dust off Kembrell Thompkins. I sense a Brady Super-Bowl push this year – in a big way. Tom Brady wants to add to his legacy and make an argument for G.O.A.T. status. Look out ‘fins.
Patriots 38, Dolphins 21

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
The Eagles will be tough to beat this week as the face a beat-up and very suspect Vikings defense. Factor in no Adrian Peterson and it could get UGLY.
Eagles 37, Vikings 20

Seattle Seahawks (-1) at New York Giants
The Seahawks are supposed to crush this one out of the park. But I start adding things up . . . West Coast team traveling all the way to NY . . Cold weather/Nasty Weather game . . . Road game . . . A proud Giants team looking to smack down the high-flying Seahawks . . . and (my favorite) Eli Manning in December. Sorry Seattle, I’m going with the G-Men on this one.
Giants 49, Seahawks 20

Buffalo Bills (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags have momentum going now and will be looking to add to it this week in what I believe may be one of the more hotly-contested games played this weekend. The things have me picking the Bills this week: (1) that wicked front 7 of the Buffalo defense, and (2) no one is overlooking the Jaguars now.
Bills 35, Jaguars 23

San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A focused San Fran team is rolling into Tampa Bay with the playoffs in mind. The defense that the 49ers field will be giving Mike Glennon nightmares for years to come. Duck and cover kid, duck and cover.
49ers 24, Buccaneers 7

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-3)
The Jets have fooled me for the last time this year. Cam and the Panthers at home will be too tough for the bi-polar Jets to beat. Getcha Nyquil.
Panthers 27, Jets 7

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (PK)
The Chiefs shook off some doubts with last week’s drubbing on the tail-spun Redskins, and this rivalry is always a heated one. I’m expecting a classic battle with the Chiefs edging the Raiders in OT.
Chiefs 30, Raiders 27

Green Bay Packers (-1) at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will be looking to right the ship after the trip to the Soldier Field woodshed on Monday Night Football last week. Needless to say, the Pack won’t be back until Aaron Rodgers is back.
Cowboys 38, Packers16

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5)
The Bengals will face a nasty battle in Pittsburgh. After last week’s nail-biter, Pittsburgh will be looking to put things back on track. Look for the Steelers to hold serve much like the Bears did on Monday Night Football. Bonus points if Pittsburgh can honor a legendary coach at halftime.
Steelers 34, Bengals 24

Monday Night Game:

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions (PK)
I can’t figure out the Detroit Lions. They’re like a more talented version of the Jets. If there is any team in the league that you look at and think “Why aren’t they winning damn near every week?!” then the obvious choice is Detroit. A proud Baltimore team will look to come in and trip up a bumbling Lions franchise. To me it was a coin flip, but after Elam said the Megatron is old? Wow, I have to go with the Lions now.
Lions 41, Ravens 30

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Joe’s NFL Picks, Week 13: Chiefs seek redemption, Seahawks lose at home

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Picking the winners and losers of week 13 in the NFL.

NFL Parity Illustrated
NFL Parity Illustrated, courtesy Deadspin.com.

Last Week: 6-7-1.  Season: 57-41-1 (57.57%).

Grab your Turducken, it is Thanksgiving week in the National Football League! Time to enjoy great food, family and fun – and then escape to watch football when you’ve had your fill of the rest.

There are many things to be thankful for as an NFL fan this year. Especially as a Kansas City Chiefs fan. In addition to being grateful for parity in the league where your team CAN go from worst to first – and that the ‘Any Given Sunday’ rule holds true (see graphic, courtesy, Deadspin.com). Side note: Sunday Night we saw all we need to see in the Brady versus Manning debate. Brady is better. That game illustrates the difference between a Champion and a guy who puts up great numbers. There’s no comparison.

I’m grateful for Calvin Johnson’s superhuman performances, Tom Brady’s competitive fire, the passion of NFL fans, and for fantasy football that brings together old friends for fun each year from locations around the globe.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Let’s look at this week’s buffet of games.

Thursday Games:

Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Detroit Lions
A divisional road game without Aaron Rodgers? NO way Green Bay. I’ll be watching this one to see Calvin ‘The Human Highlight Reel’ Johnson pull down rainbows from Matt Stafford. I bet Megatron is on Stafford’s ‘Things to be grateful for’ list. Ya think?
Lions 38, Packers 17

Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7) The Raiders on the Holiday Road, Thanksgiving Day 2013.
Toughness won’t be enough for this tough Raiders team on the Holiday Road. Dallas has too much talent and Romo has a paycheck to earn.
Cowboys 31, Raiders 13

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
A great AFC North matchup. Although Pittsburgh has turned the corner, look for Baltimore to defend their home turf in a close battle. Anybody seen the weather for Thurs in Baltimore?
Ravens 24, Steelers 21 (OT)

Sunday Games:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8)
How scary are the Buccaneers now?? Very. A young team playing with grit and growing confidence will give Carolina fits. Will the real Panthers team please stand up? I’ll take the home team.
Panthers 27, Buccaneers 24

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7)
The Jaguars have made some progress, but not enough to come into Cleveland against a stout defense in front of the Dawg Pound in a December game. Start prepping for the draft – and sign Tebow to fill seats and sell merch.
Browns 28, Jaguars 14

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4)
Underachiever team plays on the road against erratic team with a better quarterback. Not only that, but the Colts have to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Colts 23, Titans 13

Denver Broncos (-5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
It isn’t like the Chiefs pass rush will suffer without either Hali, Houston or both. They didn’t get to Manning two weeks ago. In fact, I suspect an increase mix of zone defense will Kansas City Chiefs - Redemption in Week 13.play big dividends for Sutton’s recently stagnant unit. Then you look at a Kansas City offense that finally learned how to put points on the board prepping to play against a suddenly depleted Broncos secondary. Add in a hairline fracture of Peyton’s heel, no Julius Thomas and 137 decibels every time Manning tries to audible? I’ll take the underdog Chiefs at home. Good gravy I’m a homer.
Chiefs 41, Broncos 31

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Pick ‘Em)
Bounce-back week for the Bears. The Vikings played a depleted Packers team to a tie last week, which is pathetic. Look for the Bears to come out and steal a win on the road. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jefferies and Martellus Bennett should have a feast this Sunday as well.
Bears 20, Vikings 17

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-2)
Picking a winner here is like considering political candidates. You don’t like or trust either candidate. Miami is a conundrum. The Jets are an eyesore. I’ll take the tough defense of the Jets at home in a one-score game. Ugh.
Jets 16, Dolphins 14

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
An overlooked Cardinals team seems to be gelling at the right time. Even though the Eagles have impressed lately, I don’t trust them. It always seems like QB play is an issue with the danger that Chip Kelly’s offense places them in. Look for a statement game from a Cardinals team eyeballing a playoff berth. What was it Roseanne Rosanna-Danna used to say? “Ya know, it just goes to show you that no matter what – it’s always something!”.
Cardinals 34, Eagles 27

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5) [Toronto, Ontario]
Technically a home game for the Bills, but they would fare better in Ralph Wilson Stadium. That said, Matt Ryan and the old birds will continue to slide. Perhaps Jadevon Clowney is in their future?
Bills 30, Falcons 21

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Hear that clicking sound? That is the 49ers offense gearing up for the playoffs. Combine that with a beast of a defense at home and the odds of the Rams stealing one in San Fran are very slim. Expect a biceps-kissing make-out session between Colin Kaepernick and his right arm.
49ers 38, Rams 28

New England Patriots (-9) at Houston Texans  Brady is better than Manning HANDS DOWN
Did you see Tom Brady’s mastery in the historic comeback against the Broncos on Sunday Night? How about Brady Screaming Celebration with Gronk? Have you noticed the myriad of issues facing this Texans team? The Pats are now looking fierce and I don’t see a chance of Houston winning at home.
Patriots 34, Texans 20

Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1)
One of the best games of the week. A solid Cincinnati squad visits a confident Chargers squad led by a fiery and resurrected Philip Rivers. Look for the Chargers to hold serve. Perhaps they’ll show the Jim Rome versus Jim Everett clip at halftime?
Chargers 23, Bengals 20

New York Giants (-1.5) at Washington Redskins
Tom Coughlin’s team now believes. After dropping a close one to the Cowboys, expect the Giants to steal one in D.C. against a tired and bewildered Redskins team facing a short week.
Giants 41, Redskins 38

Monday Night Game:

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-5)
Monday Night Football gets its best match-up of the year. If not for Rob Ryan’s much-improved defense I would have to go with the Seabirds at home. But Sean Payton and Drew ‘Pinball Wizard’ Brees should shine under the bright lights.
Saints 35. Seahawks 24

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Joe’s NFL Picks, Week 12: Brady and Manning duel in Foxborough, Jets win in Baltimore

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Picking the winners and losers of week 12 in the NFL.NFL 2013 week 12 predictions

Last Week: 7-8.  Season: 51-34 (60.00%).

Another Barn-Burner of a week in the NFL! Such parity! Such intruiging match-ups! Peyton Manning’s Prime-Time North American Tour of 2013 makes a stop in Foxborough, Mass where they get to play a wounded and dangerous Patriots team. Does Luck get lucky in the desert? Can KC rebound?

Let’s look at this week’s games.

Thursday Game:

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, -115)
In what is a lost season for Atlanta, the best they can hope for is to play spoiler versus the Saints. With a depleted roster, I don’t see that happening. I’ll go with the Saints.
Saints 30, Falcons 23

Sunday Games:

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh woke up. Maybe it was the bumblebee unis, but whatever – it worked. I’ll roll with a rejuvenated Steelers squad on the road against a Cleveland team with too many issues.
Steelers 21, Browns 10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-3.5)
Detroit is hard to trust in non-marquee matchups. That said, they also play tough when their backs are against the wall. The Lions can’t afford to drop a game to this Bucs team. Gimme the home team.
Lions 34, Bucaneers 21

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
The Aaron Rodgers-less Packers are lacking punch. That said, I don’t think their QB situation is nearly as sad and desperate as that of the Vikings. The circus of incompetence can’t do much for morale in MN. Give me the Pack at Lambeau.
Packers 20, Vikings 17 (OT)

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-1)
Welcome back to Earth, Kansas City. The pressure is off. Just be yourself and go back to playing defense aggressively. The ghost of #58 seems to visit Arrowhead to lend a hand this year. Nothing against the Chargers – I just don’t think the Chiefs will lose a game at home this year to ANYONE.
Chiefs 19, Chargers 14

Chicago Bears (-1) at St. Louis Rams
The Rams at home will be a tough win for Chicago. Which team will show up? The one that did everything NOT to win against Seattle? or the team that spanked Indy by a bundle? Chicago under Trestman is a consistent quality product that pulls through tough games. I’ll take the visiting Bears.
Bears 28, Rams 20

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (-1.5)
This Carolina team is on a roll. The question is, can they maintain their focus against a Dolphins team in turmoil? Miami has proved to be dangerous with their backs against the wall – but Cam Newton is too much for the ‘fins.
Panthers 38, Dolphins 27

New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-6)
I so want to pick the Jets to pull and upset here. They’re a win ugly team that pulls out the most unlikely victories. The Ravens have been playing very tough the last few weeks, but I think the Mr. Hyde Jets are going to steal one in Poe’s hometown.
Jets 24, Ravens 20

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10)
If Kubiak can’t let Case Keenum finish the game, then he may lose his job. Inserting Schaub is NOT the answer. I’m not saying Schaub isn’t good, I’m saying that Andre Johnson can’t HEAR HIM at the line of scrimmage because of the LOUD BOOING OF THE CROWD caused by Kubiak replacing Keenum with Schaub. C’mon Gary, let it go. Let the kid play.
Texans 30, Jaguars 20

Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals (PK)
I don’t see the Luck getting lucky in the desert. There are many things great about Andrew Luck, but I must say he has been most fortuitous in many situations this year. Not this week. Not in the desert. The Cards are hitting stride with a focus on the postseason.
Cardinals 24, Colts 21

Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders (-1)
Oakland is a team rising. The Titans are tough but lost. Although both teams are in turmoil at QB, Raider Nation thrives on this stuff. There is no ‘Titan Nation’. Gimme the dwellers of the Black Hole.
Raiders 32, Titans 23

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2.5, -115)
Good God. Romo versus Eli in NYC. Do the overly-talented Dallas Cowboys roll into town and post a victory? Do the Giants stay on a roll? Hmmm.
Cowboys 28, Giants 27

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-1.5)
Good Gravy. Manning-Brady in November. In Foxborough. An angry Pats team ready to smack down Manning. This game comes down to health and home field advantage. I’ll take New England in a huge upset. I don’t care if NE is favored – ANYONE beating the All-Madden Broncos of 2013 is an upset. Still . . .
Patriots 45, Broncos 42 (OT)

Monday Night Game:

San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Washington Redskins
This tough, motivated 49ers team is playing for its postseason lives. On a Plane, on a Train, in the East, against the Least. I’ll take the beast.
49ers 27, Redskins 16

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Joe’s NFL Picks, Week 11: Chiefs over Broncos and other Upsets

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Picking the winners and losers of week 11 in the NFL.NFL 2013 week 11 predictions

Last Week: 9-5.  Season: 44-26 (62.85%).

HUGE week in the NFL! The Chiefs finally square off against the Denver Mannings. The Eagles get a chance to show what they know, and many other noteworthy games.

On to the notes.

Thursday Game:

Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Tennessee Titans
Straight off you have a Titans team that got beat by the lowly Jaguars in week 10. Think it might have been a tough and emotional week for these guys? On the flipside, the Colts aren’t the same with Reggie Wayne. T-Rich isn’t explosive for the offense. A suddenly hot Rams team exposed the Colts as inconsistent at best last week in a 38-8 drubbing, In Indy! Look for the home team to exercise some demons this week.
Titans 30, Colts 20

Sunday Games:

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
The coin flip of the week. A case can be made for the Jets to win this one, but I don’t trust them. Too many recent snafus, headaches, heartaches, erratic decisions and butt fumbles for me to pick the Jets this week. The Bills team is on the rise, Manuel’s back and they are playing in Buffalo.
Bills 16, Jets 10

Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears (PK)
Ravens are too erratic on the road. I’ll take Trestman’s Bears at Soldier Field in a November game.
Bears 28, Ravens 21

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6)
Bounce-back week for Cincy in the battle of Ohio. Cleveland is nasty on D and pulls its wins out this year like a magic trick, but Cincy is nasty on D, explosive on O and playing at home.
Bengals 34, Browns 23

Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs finally put a scratch in the ‘W’ column last week against the Miami Black Eyes. It was only a matter of time (see their game in Seattle two weeks ago). Glennon, Revis, Schiano and the rest of the Buccaneers will get it together this week at home against a Falcons team that has gone adrift.
Buccaneers 34, Falcons 30

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (PK)
Well, at least this isn’t on Monday Night Football this week.
Cardinals 14, Panthers 13

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7.5)
Welcome Back, Kubiak. Case Keenum, J.J. Watt and the boys have missed you. I sense a very close one over a tough-minded Raiders team. RIP Todd Christensen.
Texans 34, Raiders 31 (OT)

San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins (-3)
I know that west coast teams often have trouble flying back east for a game, but this Dolphins team is in turmoil and minus the left side of their offensive line. I expect a huge game from Philip Rivers. Gimme the Charge on the road.
Chargers 38, Dolphins 21

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (PK)
Has Chip Kelly re-adjusted to the adjustments made by the NFL? This game we figure out what Chip Kelly has figured out. Gimme the home team in a moment of truth.
Philadelphia 42, Redskins 21

Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
The Lions are roaring. Matt Stafford grew up against Dallas, and showed that in the victory last week at Chicago. Pittsburgh is tough at home, but are a shadow of their contender teams. I wonder what amazing thing Megatron will do this week?
Lions 35, Steelers 24

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-7.5)
I agonized over this one for two weeks. It finally comes down to what I believe. I know this Chiefs team has been through the hottest of fires last year. The strongest steel of a team has been forged in Kansas City. It is passion, belief, mojo. It is winning nine weeks in a row. It is belief. I believe the Chiefs have some of the most amazing win-ugly luck ever simply because of the fact that they make their own luck through belief, preparation and effort. There is no fear. They already saw the worst that could happen last year. Manning is beat up, less mobile and is already hearing footsteps. Keep telling the Kansas City Chiefs that they can’t. They know better.
Chiefs 31, Broncos 28

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
My upset of the week. The Seahawks are beatable at home (see the game versus the Bucs two weeks ago). The Vikings are looking to come to town and punch somebody in the mouth. Somewhere between a Jared Allen stamp and an Adrian Peterson cleat mark a Vikings victory will appear.
Vikings 27, Seattle 20

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (PK)
I like the 49ers team a lot. After a tough week 10 loss, they are playing for their playoff lives. I really have a hard time picking against the Saints in their ‘dome – but if the Jets can do it, the 49ers can do it better. Break out the paper bags.
49ers 38, Saints 34

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (PK)
I don’t see a floundering and thin Packers team coming into NY and beating Eli Manning’s Giants. No way.
Giants 42, Packers 10

Monday Night Game:

New England Patriots (-3) at Carolina Panthers
The bright lights on Monday Night Football finally have something to highlight. This Panthers team is H-O-T. Solid defense, solid personnel, freak-of-nature QB and confidence. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have their hands full. I’ll take the Championship Quarterback on the Big Stage of MNF.
Patriots 27, Panthers 21

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